a look at the music of Vangelis Papathanassiou
Vangelis provided an entirely new and original score for the film. It is the second time Vangelis and Smaragdis work on a film together, after their successful cooperation during the production of "Kavafis" in 1996. It is no coincidence either, as according to Smaragdis “it was his (Vangelis) idea, as well as some Cretan businessmen’s who provided the initial funding to begin production.” The subject is not new to Vangelis either, as in 1995 he dedicated a full album to the paintings of El Greco ("FOROS TIMIS STON GKREKO") to raise funds for the purchase of Domenicos Theotokopoulos' painting 'Saint Peter' by the National Gallery (Alexandros Soutzos Museum) in Athens.
When asked, director Iannis Smaragdis has stated about the project: “It is the epic story of a Greek artist who refused to compromise, a fighter for freedom. It is a journey of light which tries to transcend the darkness of its times and reach the realm of the divine”.
"I was born in Heraklion in Crete, 300 meters away from the house of El Greco. I lived under the sky that gave birth to him, I was baptized in the sea in which he swam, I loved the same Cretans that brought him to the world and I yearned for the same journey beyond the sea that entraps our island, Crete. The Cretans are a strange clan of Greeks with their own distinct characteristics. They are uncompromising and free (like El Greco and author Nikos Kazantzakis) but also great lovers of the pleasures of life and adventure (again like Greco and fictional hero Zorbas)".
Why then a film about El Greco by a Greek?
Why a film about El Greco today?
Apart from the usual sponsors (the Greek Film Center, ERT Greek Radio & Television and Nova), three Cretan municipalities — those of Heraklion, Gazi and Chersonissos — are also backing the project financially. According to Smaragdis, the budget for the joint Greek, Spanish, Italian and British production is far beyond the means of the Greek Film Centre.
The young British actor Nick Ashdon plays the title role, while the script, based on a story by Dimitris Nollas and Panayiotis Paschidis (from Dimitris Siatopoulos’ book "The Painter of God") has been co-written by UK writer Jackie Pavlenko (together with Smaragdis). The film also features local actor and comedian Lakis Lazopoulos, who plays a Cretan shepherd that was Theotokopoulos' companion and protector in his travels. Smaragdis describes Lazopoulos as “a character who plays the role of the country’s conscience, a reflection of its spirit.”
The movie is expected to premiere in European cinemas on October 18th 2007.
Details and Credits
Directed by Iannis Smaragdis
Music by Vangelis
Script by Jackie Pavlenko and Iannis Smaragdis
Director of Photography: Aris Stavrou
Contributors: Alexandros Film, La Productora,
Tivoli, Greek Film Centre, ERT, Nova, Le Spot, Max
and Odeon Cineplex
The script is based on a free adaptation of the book "The Painter of God", a fictional biography by Dimitris Siatopoulos
Set in the 16th century, El Greco’s search for freedom, and love, ranges from the courts of Crete and Venice to Toledo in Spain. Here he is confronted by his greatest adversary the Holy Inquisition. Never backing down in his fight with the establishments of his day El Greco’s story is one of unusual heroism, betrayal, love, and the power of one man and his creative consciousness to stand out and overcome barbarity and ignorance.
An inspiration which lives on to this day."